Marmite got it right

Branding is an emotive subject, no matter if it is a rebrand, launch of a new brand or just communicating brand values. We all have an opinion. Brand, what does that mean? What on earth does a sub-brand mean? Can you brand under an existing brand and still have a brand? Oh my life, what is brand hierarchy? What is evolution and what is revolution in terms of brand?

Marmite gets their brand evolution just right (1902–2016) love it or hate it.

If you have a brand and identity that has recognition and what they call brand 'equity', it should be recognised and built on it. It would be madness to destroy that value with a re-brand. ‘Evolution’ takes the existing brand and develops it. Building on the foundations of the current brand and bringing them up to date. If you are thinking about a rebrand, first job is to look at how your customers see you. We did that for Elizabeth Finn, just gently repositioned them to be more relevant and engaging, modern, but ‘doffing a cap’ to the past.

Sometimes a brand needs a step change, a reposition. When this happens it is key to involve all the stakeholders from day one. You need them on board. Consultation is the key. Listen to everybody, staff, customers and suppliers. When your new brand is delivered, be strong, don’t try to accommodate all of the stakeholders. Design by committee is the death knell. Rebrands are not always seen as a good use of money and yet they can deliver a business change and re-vitalise an organisation.


What is a brand?
Well it is way more than a logo. The things that make up a brand include, the way the organisation talks about itself, they way their customer base talks about the brand (think Marmite and how they embrace the negative) and the visual suite that makes up a brand. Think about Burberry, few know the logo but most people know their pattern. That is all part of the brand. Their brand crisis in the UK circa 2005 (when we were trying not to listen to James Blunt’s ‘You’re beautiful’ on repeat) was to look like a Chav. They fixed it by gently developing their signature pattern and keeping the prices high.

A great re-brand, but what’s the secret?
Federal Express – everybody called them Fed-ex anyway - went through a re-brand way back in 1994 at the time we were listening to Meat Loaf’s 'I would do anything for love' (except there was something we were not allowed to know). Not only did they take the leap with their name, the agency delivered something that was ‘hidden’ inside the mark and for once, they didn’t force the agency to make it obvious. The hidden arrow makes the logo move. No italics here.

You fat t**t
Top banding team Pentagram, undertook the Weight Watchers re-brand. The thinking behind it being that as the type gets lighter and you are reminded that you too may get lighter, if only you were a Weight Watcher. It didn’t take long for the design community, or anyone else for that matter to notice the ‘hidden’ message. Interestingly, it was dropped and their new logo has been ‘slimmed down’. Still needs work mind.

Evolution, revolution, new brand or sub-brand, it’s a path that must be taken, but make sure you have a great guide.

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